You can use every part of the coconut to eat and drink and consume it fresh or use it to prepare your meals. Sometimes, you may wonder does coconut goes bad and how long does coconut last since it is tricky to assess its condition without opening it. Let’s see.
Does Coconut Go Bad?
Coconut is a drupe that matures on a tree for almost a year. On average, it travels for about two months from the moment of picking to the store where you buy it. It primarily depends on the part of the planet where you live. That means it is pretty ripe once you buy it.
Unfortunately, coconut can go bad over time, depending on how you store it until use. The good thing is that it usually takes a long time before it becomes unusable, and you need to throw it away.
How Long Does Coconut Last?
As I have already mentioned, the unopened coconut you buy is not fresh since it can take weeks or months before arriving in stores. Therefore, its shelf life depends on the original freshness. You can store the whole coconut for a maximum of four months at room temperature in most cases.
Keep in mind that signs of decay may appear much earlier, even after a week. Once you open it, you need to immediately use the meat and store the leftovers in the fridge. That way, you can keep the fresh coconut for 6 to 8 months in your fridge container.
How Long Does Coconut Last (Chart)
|Whole fresh||Up to 4 months||2 to 3 months||
6 to 8 months
|6 to 12 months||6 to 12 months||6 to 8 months|
|Cut fresh||Several hours||1 week||
6 to 8 months
|4 to 6 months||6 to 8 months||6 to 8 months|
|Homemade toasted||2 to 3 months||2 to 3 months||
6 to 8 months
On the other hand, packed, dried, or canned coconut can last much longer. You can keep the packed coconut in your pantry for 6 to 12 months, while coconut oil is safe to use for years.
3 Tips to Tell if Coconut has Gone Bad
In most cases, it is difficult to see visually whether a coconut is gone bad. You can check the surface for cracks, crevices, and alcohol odor and determine the moisture level or mold presence. The best three ways to check the coconut status are:
Hear the splash
The more mature the coconut, the less water there is in it. As a result, the coconut will contain more meat than the fluid over time. To check its status, you should take your fruit in hand and shake it.
If you can barely hear the liquid, you should probably open and consume it as soon as possible if the meat is still in good condition. Plus, the coconut water is lighter than its meat. If coconut seems to have gotten a little heavier, it is probably overripe.
Check the coconut eyes
The coconut has three holes arranged in the shape of a triangle, and they are often called eyes. One of the surest ways to know that something is wrong with coconut is to check them.
If moisture, mold, or liquid leaks on the eyes, it means that the coconut has spoiled. Such fruit is not recommended for use as it can lead to bacterial infection or digestive problems.
Open the coconut
Finally, the color, smell, and taste of the coconut inside are definite indicators if it is edible. If you notice a strange odor, the meat discoloration, or changes in texture, throw the coconut in the trash. You don’t want to risk food poisoning, after all.
Consumption of spoiled coconut milk and meat won’t be pleasant even if they don’t cause you any digestive problems. If the coconut has changed color and smell, the food you prepare with it won’t taste right.
3 Tips to Store Coconut for Longer
If you don’t plan to use the whole coconut the day you buy it, you need to plan where to store it. Whether you choose the pantry, refrigerator, or freezer, there are several ways to keep coconut fresh longer.
Keep in mind that you have a limited time to use the whole coconut even though it is possible to store it on a shelf in your pantry for a while. Unfortunately, even though it can seemingly be in perfect condition, there is a big chance of rotting inside when you keep it too long.
In such a case, it won’t be longer eatable. Therefore, the best option is to buy the coconut the day you want to consume it and store leftovers till the next opportunity.
1. Toast the coconut
Toasted coconut flakes are an indispensable ingredient in many dessert recipes. Plus, it a great way to save even the smallest pieces of coconut meat you have left.
It doesn’t take much effort or time to prepare homemade toasted flakes. All you have to do is grind the coconut meat pieces, put them in the oven, and occasionally stir.
You can also use the stovetop or microwave instead of the oven if you prefer that way. It only takes a few minutes to prepare, depending on how crispy you want the flakes to be.
Once the toasted coconut flakes cool off, you should put them in a jar or plastic container. Their shelf life is 2 to 3 months in a pantry. If you want to prolong that period, it is better to put the flakes in a freezer.
2. Make a coconut milk
Once opening the coconut, you can use it instantly or keep meat chunks in a refrigerator. However, it can be convenient and practical to make homemade coconut milk or cream.
The recipe is simple. Add the cleaned meat chunks in a blender and add the coconut water. If you have a mature coconut with little water, add a cup of tap water instead. Turn the blender to the fastest mode and blend the content for approximately 60 seconds. Once finishing the process, pour the milk into a glass bottle.
If you want, you can experiment and add a little vanilla extract, cinnamon, or some other sweet spice to the mixture. Homemade coconut milk can be refrigerated for three to four days.
3. Store the chunks in a freezer
If you don’t want to make coconut milk or flakes, you always have the option to keep pieces of meat in the freezer. It is possible to store leftover coconut that you don’t intend to use soon for about 6 to 8 months in the freezer.
Open the plastic box, arrange the chopped coconut flesh and sprinkle it with a few teaspoons of sugar. After all, you can always defrost the coconut and use it to prepare the milk or grate it afterward.
However, it is not wise to defrost it in the microwave since it will release too much liquid. Instead, take the box out of the freezer the night before you need it and let it thaw gradually at room temperature.
The Risk if Consuming an Expired Coconut
Coconut doesn’t have an expiration date per se. That means there is no specific date when you should throw it away. Still, consuming the spoiled and rotten coconut meat can lead to stomach ache, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Always look for any cracks on the overripe coconut since they can cause meat bacterial infection. If you eat spoiled fruit, you can face severe health conditions caused by a few potentially dangerous bacteria, including salmonella, Escherichia coli, and Klebsiella.
Can You Freeze Coconut?
Not only is it possible to freeze coconut, but it is a practical solution to keep it much longer than in a pantry or refrigerator. Coconut can stand in the freezer for 6 to 8 months. Some women prefer freezing whole pieces while others instead shred them on a hand grater.
Whichever way you choose, there are two methods to freeze coconut. You can add some sugar to meat chunks or soak them in coconut milk before freezing them.
Also, you can use both plastic containers and zip bags for storing the coconut in the freezer. However, don’t forget that frozen pieces can expand from the original size so, don’t overfill the container.
If you use freezer bags, it is more practical to grate the coconut. Lay the bag on a flat surface and fill it evenly. Once you fill 2/3 of it, expel all the excess air and close it. It is crucial to write the date on the bag when you put it in the freezer to use it within six months.
There are only a few parts of the world where it is possible to buy fresh coconut, harvested that day or week. Unfortunately, coconut you can find in a store is a few weeks old when you buy it.
Even though you can keep it in your pantry for a while, it is better to prepare it immediately and keep the leftovers in the refrigerator or freezer.